Freeman, President Obama are Black – and that’s a problem


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So yes – we are in full-on governmental shutdown as of this very morning, as Congress and the Senate could not agree on a budget for the 2014 fiscal year, leaving 800,000 federal employees without work and shutting down many essential government services. Many will look at it as a political power play by a section of the Republican party known as the Tea Party, and that is true. Some may blame low voter turnout for the GOP’s ability to stifle President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which could be true.

However, a lot of the pettiness going on in Washington surrounds the hatred towards President Obama for nothing but sheer hatred that a man of color is the most powerful official in the world. Shifting the blame toward his landmark universal health care legislation is a spiteful move that is similar to another world where politics can be a messy, tricky game – and that’s the National Football League.


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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has had a rough go of it since leading the Bucs to 10 wins and the cusp of the playoffs in 2010, having his play questioned by media, coaches and Bucs front office management often. But what is rumored to have happened to him at the hands of current Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano is just a violation that is not to be taken lightly.

Nothing concrete has been proven yet, but there have been reports that the leak of Freeman’s enrollment in the NFL’s drug program for prescription/street drugs, which is a private matter mind you, was perpetrated by Schiano, who had already benched Freeman in favor of rookie Mike Glennon.
President Obama and Josh Freeman are worlds apart in terms of generation, line of work and culture, but they have one thing in common that most black men also share – the indignity of being questioned and discredited as a professional and as a man/human being. The word and work of a Black man is never good enough for anyone in this world, whether you’re the President of the United States, a professional football player or a garbage man.

That same attitude has killed countless Black men, from Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin and many more, yet when the obvious (racism) is called to the carpet, those who benefit from racism are quickly on the defensive and wonder why we even have to talk about such an evil thing. I’ll let the irony of that wash over you on your own.

It’s not totally uncommon for political officials to disagree on policy – happens on a regular basis, for various reasons. However, it’s going to take a lot of convincing for me to believe President Obama is anything but a victim of the racism that has plagued men that look like him in lesser positions since the beginning of time. People were opposed to President George W. Bush’s Iraq war and many other policies, but there was a compromise and sure enough, the country went on with no issue. Yet when the President, an African-American by definition president, attempts to ensure his constituents can receive health care without jumping through hoops and going broke, it’s a reason to shut down the government.

It’s a slap in the face to those of us with common sense and the experience of being Black in this country to say that racism doesn’t play some factor in Congress’ do-nothing stance since the 2012 presidential election.

As for Freeman, while it is true he has not set the world on fire since the 2010 season that made Bucs faithful believe their QB of the future was here, there have been many other mediocre quarterbacks who were given the opportunity to exist as men and fade out – either being released or traded. The Buccaneers have leaked info about Freeman missing team meetings (not typical info), stuff as petty as his body language around the team, and now exposing a perceived drug problem while the man is trying to get through it.

It’s easy for a naysayer – or moderate, depending on your view – that racism isn’t that big of a deal and it’s not a powerful tool, because nine times out of 10, they’re the ones benefiting from it. Until you’ve been discredited, insulted, bullied and humiliated at work while the outside world thinks you’re doing a great job, you can’t tell me about racism not being a big deal. When you’ve been followed in a store for fear you’re stealing or planning a robbery, maybe we can talk. And finally unless you’ve actually been a Black man in a world that has perceived you as a lawless animal always up to no good, you really should just shut up.

This is the struggle, unfortunately. The President of the United States. A pro football player. Me as I’m writing this post. We’re not immune to being marginalized and outcast as people who “don’t belong here.” Black men deserve the right to exist as men and human beings without being eliminated, physically or otherwise, because the rest of America doesn’t understand or care to understand who and what we are.


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